- Military Police were called to help contain a rebellion after an attempted escape
- At least three prison officers were held hostage by armed men inside the prison
- The officers were captured during a counting of the prisoners
- The inmates managed to seize two of the guards’ revolvers and a pistol
- The Milton Dias prison has a capacity of 884 inmates but held 2,027 in January
Inmates of a heavily overcrowded prison in metropolitan Rio de Janeiro took guards hostage during a riot that had not been controlled by Sunday night, authorities said.
Members of an elite SWAT unit along with police formed a perimeter around the Milton Dias Moreira prison, where inmates began the riot on Sunday afternoon, according to an emailed statement from the Rio state penitentiary administration.
The email did not say how many people were taken hostage however a number of other news sources say three guards were were being held.
Inmates at the Milton Dias Moreira prison in metropolitan Rio de Janeiro took prison guards hostage during a riot
The prison is known to be heavily overcrowded with 2,027 stationed there – well above its capacity of 884. This image was captured from a police helicopter overhead
The agents that were taken hostage were photographed by prisoners
It provided no information on any deaths or injuries at the prison, where over 2,000 inmates are crowded into a facility built for less than 900.
The incident was the latest in a string of deadly uprisings in Brazil’s prisons, which experience endemic violence and are under the de facto control of powerful drug gangs.
Rights groups call prison conditions medieval, with food scarce and cells often so packed that inmates have no space to lie down.
Earlier on Sunday, Rio state authorities said they would make changes to increase prison security, although details were not disclosed.
The changes are part of the federal government’s intervention in Rio state’s security system.
On Friday, President Michel Temer ordered the military to take control of Rio state’s police force and its prisons, a decree that Congress must approve, which it is expected to do this week.
Members of an elite SWAT unit along with police formed a perimeter around the Milton Dias Moreira prison, where inmates began the riot on Sunday afternoon (file photo)